Ní Bheidh Fuath Agam Oraibh
Review of "Ní Bheidh Fuath Agam Oriabh" by our colleague Theresa.
“Ní Bheidh Fuath Agam Oraibh” (“I Will Not Hate You”) is a translation of a short French novel entitled “Vous N’aurez Pas Ma Haine” by Antoine Leiris. The Irish translation was done by Colm Ó Lorcáin.
Irish translations of foreign language novels and poems for both adults and children have become very popular in recent years. This Irish translation is ideal for adult learners of Irish. The chapters are short and the language is plain and simple. Difficult words and expressions are explained at the end of each page as well as being listed at the back of the book.
On Friday 13th of November, 2015, Islamic State Militants stormed into the Bataclan theatre in Paris and shot 90 people dead and critically injured many others. In this book, Antoine Leiris gives us a heart-breaking account of how he dealt with the news of the death of his wife Helene during the days immediately following her murder. They had been together for 12 years and had a 17 month old son, Melvil. His love for Helene and Melvil is evident in every page of the book. He gives us several detailed descriptions of events which followed the confirmation of Helene’s death. In one of the most moving passages in the book he tells how he broke the news to Melvil. Melvil has only three words “Mamaí, Dadaí and dúidín” and yet he has reached the stage where he understands everything. He is obviously distressed and confused as to why his mother is not around as she has never been apart from him for more than one night. Antoine approaches the task with profound sensitivity and humanity. After finishing Melvil’s favourite bedtime story, he takes out a mobile phone containing some lullabies which Helene had recorded for Melvil. Antoine then draws up an image of a happy, smiling Helene which is stored on the phone:
“Ar an toirt, síneann sé a mhéar go himníoch ina treo, iompaíonn sé agus féachann orm, a mheangadh bunoscionn agus na deora teolaí lena shúile. Titim as a chéile, míním dó chomh maith agus is féidir liom nach féidir lena mháthair teacht ar ais, gur bhain timpiste thromchúiseach di, nach bhfuil neart ar bith aici air, gur bhreá léi a bheith in éineacht leis ach nach féidir léi. Caoineann sé ar bhealach nach bhfaca mé ariamh. Chaoin sé deora roimhe sin, ar ndóigh, ach, deora de dheasca na péine, na heagla, nó mar gheall ar dhiomá nó frustrachas éigin.”
Ach, an uair seo, seo rud eile ar fad, seo an chéad uair dó a bheith faoi bhrón, an chéad uair dó a bheith faoi fhíorbhrón.”
While it is clear that Antoine is struggling with unbearable grief, he still has the ability to move beyond any anger he may feel towards the people who murdered Helene. His approach to life and death is deeply philosophical. He believes that his wife was fated to die on that particular day and that it is not the “agents of death” who are important but the fact that she is gone and will not be coming back. He realises that he is now 100% responsible for Melvil whom he wishes to have a beautiful and joyful life. He believes that if he allows anger and hatred for the terrorists to fill his heart, he will not be fulfilling his responsibility to his son. He wants to be present at all times for Melvil and that means letting go of any feelings of anger and hatred which might negatively impact on his relationship with his son.
While a sense of profound grief pervades the book, it is also in many ways a beautiful celebration of Helene’s life and of the wonderful happy existence the three of them shared before her death. Out of the depths of despair, Antoine emerges light-hearted and filled with hope for the bright future he will share with his son.